At the beginning, most of this site centred around me, Angus Willson, and my professional activities. I started a section called “Geo-story” to include a few wider interests. One of these is “The Onlooker“, I believe, a fascinating story of the Ascoli family in the first half of the twentieth century. The rest of the family history takes emphasis from the photographic record and that has many pitfalls. In compiling this I wanted to capture some of the best images for sharing and then piece together some of the stories. Unlike Alice Ascoli, I don’t have a narrative structure. Well, not one that I have made clear yet.
Genealogy attempts to be neutral and looks backward. Also, I discovered that it disregards the living and my purpose is to pass forward Great Aunt Alice’s message to future generations. That means Geo-story has perspective – and I am not that sorry if it comes across as mine.
Part of this collection is in date order and part of it groups together families. This should help to make the connections:
The Ascoli family
Margaret Ramsay, my grandmother, married Percy Ascoli (see The Onlooker for photos here) and later Henry Wiltshire.
For the Ramsay family branch see below.
Lorna Fermer, my mother, was born Lorna Ascoli and married Alfred Willson and later Peter Fermer.
Over on Facebook there is a public group called “The Ascoli Family… In The World” which has some lovely photos and posts from the extended family. Gina Marks is the champion of this page and has provided some useful scrutiny of The Onlooker timeline. https://www.facebook.com/groups/120610354635570/ [opens in a new tab]
The Wiltshire family
Margaret Ascoli (Ramsay) married Henry Wiltshire whose family were from Whitchurch, Hampshire.
Christine Wiltshire (step-sister to Lorna Ascoli and our Aunt) married Barrie Rolfe and later Russell Lugg.
The Willson family
Alfred Willson, our Dad, died in 1957 after Janet, Stephen and Angus were born. (Jan, Steve and Gus.)
Alfred Willson’s mother was born Boughton.
Steve married Elizabeth Smith and they have three daughters, Robyn (deceased), Natasha and Amy.
The Fermer family
Peter Fermer married Lorna Willson (Ascoli) and became our step-father.
Peter’s siblings are Denis and Mary (Aunt and Uncle).
Den (died 1996) married Averil. Their son Stephen Robert Fermer married Val Pope.
Mary married Geoff Smith (died) and later Keith Cains.
Mary and Geoff wedding photos >
More Fermer family see photos >
The Rolfe family
Barrie Rolfe married Christine Wiltshire (our Uncle and Aunt) and Sarah, Catherine (Kate), Helen were born (our cousins).
The Prince family
Angus married Margaret Prince (Marg) , daughter of Ronald Prince (Ron) and Gwendoline (Gwen) – who came from a family of Hughes.
Anthony Prince (Anton) is Margaret’s brother who is married to Irene.
See The Prince family >
The Thomas family
Jan Willson married David Thomas and they have sons Andrew and Philip.
Andrew is married to Claire – who was a Page-Mitchell.
Jan reminded us recently that picnics and outings in the New Forest were (are) a key component in the family geo-story. This gathering of cousins shows, left to right, Jan, Andrew, Steve, Philip climbing up next to Amy, Dad and David at the back, and in the front, Tashy (in long sweatshirt), Robyn, Mum and Marg.
The Ramsay family (or Ramsey)
On first introduction most people ask me if I am Scottish. One answer is I have a Ramsay quarter from my Grandmother in the photos above.
The Grandmother I knew was born as Margaret Ramsay (1903-1999) and married Percy Ascoli (1893-1928) (see above) and later Henry Wiltshire. Her own mother was Ann “Annie” Combe Carnie (1872-1950), Her father was John Ramsay (1872-) and her paternal Grandmother was Margaret Purves (1838-1920), which is also the source of her middle name, and her father, Robert Ramsay (1846-).
On the Ramsay side, I knew Gran’s sister Auntie Helen Bunch (born Jessie Helen Ramsay 1908-2001) who married Ernest James Bunch (1907-1995). They lived in Barton on Sea so we saw them quite regularly.
The Carnie family
This is the Newhaven connection or Scottish roots. Family notes show Gran’s parents married in Grangemouth 5 June 1896 but I haven’t confirmed all the details yet. Ann “Annie” Combes Carnie had seven brothers and sisters and there is a patchwork of family memories around them. My mother and Shirley had been looking into this side of the family in about 2005. I have pieced together their notes which provides some geo-story going beyond the bare facts of genealogical records.
For more see Scottish roots >
As a useful activity of the CoVid-19 #StayAtHome period in April and May 2020 I started an Ancestry account and sought to bring together some of the known and less-known parts of our recent family genealogical story.
I will happily share a unique link which provides access to the Willson family tree on Ancestry.com.
Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org